Religion 101

Religion 101

Discrimination and the Boy Scouts of America

In a controversial move (controversial among many religious conservatives), the Boy Scouts of America recently reversed their longstanding policy banning “open and avowed homosexuals” from becoming Scouts. In other words, the BSA now affirms that it’s okay for Boy Scouts to be gay.

However, it’s still not okay for Boy Scouts to be atheist; that particular longstanding policy is still intact. One discriminatory BSA ban is coming to an end; another remains in full force.

Rather than launching into a lengthy (and wordy) overview and analysis of this whole issue, I will instead simply pose the question to readers: is this fair?

As a private organization, the BSA is perhaps within their legal rights to refuse admission to whomever they choose. But is it right? Should the Scouts continue to bar boy atheists (and even boy agnostics, too) from membership in their ranks?

Thoughtful, polite, and well-reasoned reader comments are invited.





Comments read comments(2)
post a comment

posted June 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm

But suppose you like camping, hiking, the outdoors, learning survival skills, the friendship that comes from the scouts, and all the scout activities. Suppose you’re very active in community service and you’re a good scout in all other ways. Why does believing in God need to be essential for all that. I was in the boyscouts and it didn’t function like a church group. It was only vaguely religious at best. Providing religious ideas wasn’t even really a function it was more of a vague backdrop. What if you’re interested in the kinds of activities the scouts do (most of which are not religious) and you’d like to join. Sure you have the option to not join, but you’re missing out on something great.

report abuse


posted June 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Regarding your article on BSA not allowing athiest or agnostic boys in their organization, I ask why would anybody who doesn’t believe in God even want to be in a group whose teachings are centered around God?

The thing that frustrates me about all if this is that we are talking about a private organization founded on a set “guidelines, rules, and structures”. If people do not want to be bound by them, or don’t agree with them, simply don’t join! We should not ask any organization to change who they are or what they believe just so it will fit who we are. I don’t agree with the KKK so I simply chose not to be a part of it. I don’t fit the requirements to be a Free Mason, so I simply won’t try to join. When I am 80 years old, should I demand that the Young Business Associates change their rules just so I can become a member? I can’t change my age, so am I being discrimated against? All of this is a bunch of bull. There is no difference in a person being bullied by others for who/what/how he is than those same others being bullied because he don’t like not being allowed to join a group that does not “fit”him. Why would anyone even desire to be part of a group that doesn’t want them other than to make a statement that “People WILL accept me whether they like it or not”. Forcing a group to allow you as a member with not force that group to like you or embrace you. I’m not saying everyone has to agree with or accept me as I am and I don’t feel it is right for people to say I MUST agree with or accept them as they are. So I guess we need to just open EVERY single organization on Earth to open membership to every living creature on the planet in order to get this ridiculousness to stop!!!


report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Six)
Specifically Christian newcomers to the study of Judaism frequently puzzle over  why -- as they themselves often put it -- Jews "don't believe in Jesus." The reality is simply that the entire Jewish concept of who and what a Messiah actually ...

posted 4:45:00pm Jun. 29, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Five)
Aside from the several other frequent areas of confusion which sometimes puzzle newcomers to the study of Judaism (areas which I've been discussing in my last several blog entries), there is yet another hazy area that is often uniquely puzzling ...

posted 10:01:32pm Jun. 27, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Four)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about many of the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real ...

posted 9:16:07pm Jun. 25, 2013 | read full post »

On Teaching About Judaism (Part Three)
As discussed in previous blog entries, a fairly sizable percentage of the American public seems to know surprisingly little about the basics of Judaism. In my own world religions courses, some students begin the semester with no real knowledge ...

posted 6:27:16pm Jun. 22, 2013 | read full post »

Midsummer (Litha)/Yule 2013
Tomorrow (Friday, June 21, 2013) is the date of the summer solstice within the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, by contrast, tomorrow will be the date of the winter solstice. Solstices have long been observed as important ...

posted 5:05:38pm Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.